n South African Journal of Education - The selection and training of fieldworkers in educational research : a Western Cape inquiry

Volume 22, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



In this qualitative study we investigated how fieldworkers in educational research were selected and trained, using questionnaires and individual interviews to gather data from both researchers and fieldworkers themselves. From an original sample of 17 researchers, a purposive sample of 12 researchers and 16 fieldworkers was identified. The principal researchers collected all the data, which were analysed according to themes and patterns using the constant comparative method. The findings suggested that, for a number of reasons, researchers struggle to achieve the quality of fieldworker training that they know to be desirable, and that certain forms of research run the risk of underestimating the importance of training fieldworkers. The study also illustrated how different understandings of the term 'fieldworker', both in the literature and in practice, affect researcher expectations of fieldworkers. We conclude by alerting researchers to the risk to the quality of data if fieldworker roles are not carefully defined.

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